The Tees Valley is one of two pilot areas for the development of an environmental decision making tool based on ecosystem service interactions. The Defra funded initiative is led by Dr Piran White of York University and explores the management and policy implications of the interactions between habitats in their delivery of ecosystem services.
The project is working on the production of a map-based decision-support tool which will demonstrate these interactions and the effects of management interventions on the delivery of ecosystem services. It will also include economic valuation and legislative data to help create a more comprehensive tool. They are focusing on three systems – agriculture, freshwater (rivers and wetlands), and urban areas – which have been identified as priority landscapes in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UKNEA), either in terms of their status or the lack of understanding of biodiversity-ecosystem service relations within them, or both.
The tool is being initially developed in the context of the Humberhead Levels Nature Improvement Area and is being designed so that it is transferable to other localities in the United Kingdom. The TVNP are working with Piran to assist in the development of a locally-specific version of the tool for the Tees Valley, our ‘test’ area, and use it to assess the implications of alternative future scenarios for the delivery of multiple ecosystem benefits in this area.
Piran and his research team visited the Tees Valley on 22 May for a whistle stop tour of the varied landscapes and ecosystems of the Tees Valley with Sue Antrobus and Anne Louise Orange of the Tees Valley Nature Partnership. It is envisaged that the research will provide valuable tool for the Partnership and in particular for the River Tees Rediscovered landscape project which is currently being developed as a round two Landscape Partnership, led by Groundwork North East.
Link to the York University Ecosystem Interactions project web page.
Also the the ‘Ecosystem Service Mapping Gateway’, is now live. This has been developed by the NERC Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BESS) Directorate and brings together information on the growing number of projects concerned with mapping ecosystem service delivery at the landscape level. Click to access the Ecosystem Service Mapping Gateway